Marketing for an established business is always that much easier. You already have an existing customer database. There is a certain template which has worked swimmingly well in the past and there is no reason it will not work again. You are not limited by the resources that you have be it in terms of time, money or talent. Though it must be mentioned that in recent times online crowdfunding platforms have made it a more level playing field. Point being that in many instances, traditional forms of advertising do not always work that well in case of a startup company. In fact stories that you hear of an unknown entity becoming a huge success almost overnight are just that. Stories. What we do not see is that behind these inspiring examples are years of meticulous planning, painstakingly done market research and endless hours of hard work. To ensure that the eventual execution is as flawless as possible. A slip-up is simply not an option. Likewise the marketing needs to be innovative and professional yet flexible enough to be tweaked in real time scenarios. Here are some tools that are ideally suited to startups.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of reaching out to your potential audience. To begin with it does not cost you a whole lot. Unlike other forms of marketing you can identify and target your leads thus increasing chances of converting them into a sale. The results are tangible and easier to analyse. Creating awareness is necessary for a startup and email marketing does this quite well. Mailchimp is an email service provider that is immensely popular with most startups and it is not difficult to fathom why. For one it allows users to avail their services free of charges till they reach a threshold of 2000 email subscribers. With Mailchimp, businesses can easily demarcate subscribers based on region, language and other preferences. For potential leads, you can customise a standard format to send automated follow up emails. These emails can be seamlessly integrated with social media and the owner can choose to send a link to the respective email. These emails can also be tweaked so that they get in a mobile phone friendly format. The drag and drop feature of Mailchimp makes it fairly easy for even a non technical person to build these emails all by themselves. From editing to sending test emails to analyzing their impact, MailChimp does this and a lot more.
2. Buffer.com (website)
A vital cog in marketing strategies of any business today is social media. For startups advertising on social media works quite well. A business owner can keep a real time track of the impact that the campaign has on potential customers. Also visibility is what startups need the most and pitching a product/service on social media is likely to get more eyeballs. A well thought out social media campaign has the potential to go viral and spread the word about your startup without much effort from your end. No wonder then that most companies have multiple social media accounts which they leverage to extract maximum mileage on various online platforms. Which is what makes Buffer.com such a potent marketing tool. It does all the postings required on your behalf. On all the avenues that you choose. You can schedule these posts so that they are done on specific days and at a specific time. And even customise the posts depending on the social network that is chosen. All this can be done from one centralised account without having to log into multiple ones. Buffer.com also has impressive analytical tools that will give you an insight into how things are progressing.
3. Slideshare (Website)
Content is king. Especially when you are attempting to sell your wares on the world wide web. Key words are most important because that is how your potential leads will look you up and with some luck land up on your website. But at the same time visuals have their own charm and nothing quite connects with a customer like a pleasing visual. The kinds of which you will get to have if you make use of the Slideshare tool. This very under utilised tool helps you create a slideshow that captures the essence of what your startup is all about. With Slideshare it is very easy to keep count of the actual number of views. Once this slideshow has been uploaded on Slideshare you can also share it on all other social networks where one must specially mention Linkedin which is the best business networking portal around. Optimizing for search engines means that incoming traffic to your site will show a spike. Slideshare is visited by millions of users every month so a well made slideshow can create a great buzz for your business. Slideshare also works just as well with PDFs documents, videos and webinars. Choose the one which is apt. Depending on what your preferences are.
4. Viral-loops.com (Website)
Not many marketing professionals realise that when it comes to business, referrals carry great weightage. And consequently not much attention is paid to referral marketing. When it comes to startups one of the big challenges is to gain the trust of a customer. But a good word by someone known to your prospective customer(s) can benefit your business immensely. It is what is also referred to as word of mouth publicity. Now while it is true that word of mouth usually happens spontaneously Viral loops are a referral marketing based solution that can help create the right impression. And the right buzz. Viral loops make use of the customer itself to do the marketing for a product/service. It is not dissimilar to invites that you get from friends and acquaintances to join a certain social network. If you accept the invite and like the experience that you have you might end up inviting some others yourself. And so the loop goes on and on. New and exciting ideas usually catch on with the target audience in no time at all. Which is why Viral loops done correctly can work wonders for any startup. In addition this marketing solution is not cost intensive. So a startup company employing viral loops have everything to gain and very little to lose. Viral Loops has pre designed referral programs & incentive based campaigns that you can pick & choose from. Then modify it, if the need be and then let it roll. But do bear in mind that viral loops will not work if the product or service is not upto the mark.
P.S – They also have ready to use templates for Startups
5. Google Analytics
Unlike the real world, in the virtual one it is possible to identify your target audience with a fair degree of certainty. If done correctly and making use of the right tools business analysis will help an entrepreneur always stay one step ahead of the competition. Google Analytics is that tool that not only helps businesses not doing well understand what can be done to make things better. But even help those who are performing exceptionally identify the factors that are contributing to their success. For online shopping portals the Google Analytics provides comprehensive sale reports that are great performance indicators. It also lets a business analyse incoming traffic for details of visitor behavior. Like how they got to the website so that you can make sure they keep coming back. And equally if the lead did not result in a sale what put them off? Did the homepage take too long to load? Is the UI not easy to use? Is the text and visual content upto scratch? Google Analytics also helps you gain insights into the reasons that make your competitor’s portal work. These reports can be customised with metrics which can be added depending on the nature of your business. There are a large number of add-ons available along with Google Analytics for those who want more advanced features.
6. Startuplister.com (Website)
Submitting to web directories is a good way of getting your website to rank high in search engine results. One thing it does is to build backlinks to your site which in turn will help your site gain more visibility. Having your startup listed in these web directories helps create visibility about what you do. And build your brand. Listing your site with quality web directories means that the traffic coming to your site will also be of quality itself. But directory submision is a tough job consuming a lot of your valuable time. Which is where startuplister.com makes all the difference. Startuplister will do all your submissions to these web directories and manually at that. As a result you are able to create a business profile that is well suited to your startup and that will be sure to garner the right kind of media attention for your business. Additionally startup lister also submits your site to social media networks along with various forums and review sites too. For the reference of a business a screenshot of the various submissions is provided. Also this is a good way to create a positive image of your startup as many of the sites to whom submissions are made write reviews about startups itself. All you as a business owner have to do is to fill up one form that is on the website of startuplister and they will take care of the rest of things.
7. Zendesk (Website)
All that extensive planning plus months spent in market research & product development along with a good marketing strategy and above all a really good product will all come to nought if the customer support that you have is not upto scratch. As far as the customer is concerned the person on the other side of the phone represents the company. If the customer is unhappy with the service received it will create a lasting impression and a bad one at that. For a startup this can be potentially damaging and something the company can ill afford. Zendesk is a portal that provides a wide range of resources related to quality customer service. From voice, chat & online messaging support along with automated voice response system where customers can access whatever information they need themselves Zendesk ticks all the boxes. This makes it easy for a customer to get in touch with you as and when they need. Other resources geared towards fixing customer grievances, retaining existing clientele, a pleasant sales experience and faster turn around times (TAT) are made available by Zendesk so that nothing untoward happens during the course of the interaction. Then there is the Zendesk Help Center that gives you more advanced options intended to make the customer support provided top notch.
8. Stockunlimited (Sepcial Deal on Subscriptions)
Sure it is keywords that bring traffic to your site and yes, quality content on the site will help a potential lead learn all there is to about your startup. But it cannot be denied that it is visual imagery that will get your audience hooked. And it has it’s own place in the overall scheme of things. Which is why several companies spend considerable time & energy in designing the look and feel of their website. But quality, professional developers do not come cheap and not every startup can afford to employ them or even pay for the services rendered. The recourse for such startups is to pick and choose from a plethora of existing templates and images that are available for download from the internet. Known as stock images these do not come free either especially the quality one which come at a fee. A good option for startups to explore is stockunlimited and as the name suggests quite clearly you can download and use as many stock images as you want from this portal. As these stock images are all vector images there will be no copyright issues happening. And all this can be used by you by paying what is a small fee only. Thus making it an ideal situation for any startup. Stock Unlimited also offers a web Editor for you to easily edit all images, as per social media resolutions or custom sizes with text and custom images.
9. Animatron (Special Deal on Subscriptions)
Animation is not easy. It needs the animator to bring together elements of live action along with three dimensional animation. It is quite expensive, time consuming and tacky animation in the hands of a lesser talent can defeat the purpose. So while using animated clips and images on a business website can work wonders it can also leave a bad impression on your potential leads if not executed with finesse. The Animatron is a tool designed to make animation accessible to even those who are not really technically adept. This animation maker can create stunning animated video, images and characters that will make for a truly immersive user experience. All a user has to do is make use of the smart drag and drop feature that Animatron provides to get going. That it makes use of HTML5 technology to do this makes these animations user friendly, be it on laptops, PCs or mobile devices. It offers creators the option to import external media and use along with the animation.
There are video sharing platforms and there is YouTube. Today there is perhaps no other platform that provides the kind of visibility, instant recognition and worldwide popularity that YouTube does. You need not spend much on making the video either. The uploaded clip can be of any quality,length and in any language. There are no restrictions on the type of content that gets uploaded either. As long as the video is liked by the target audience little else matters. Before you know it the video will get shared all over and create a buzz for your business that will resonate everywhere.
11. Sinch.com (website)
In the last decade the world of communication has witnessed unprecedented growth in terms of innovation. The internet, smartphones and Mobile Apps have opened up hitherto unheard of options when it comes to connecting folks both in the business world and in personal space too. The need of the hour is for traditional forms of communication to come together with the newer ones but this is easier to imagine than to accomplish. With Sinch both these diverse worlds are now able to connect seamlessly. Using a variety of software development and application software building tools Sinch is able to achieve many firsts. Like SMSes that can be made from your App or even your business site, VoIP calls that can be made from any location & Apps on your smartphone that can be enabled to make calls anywhere, even internationally. Also these calls can be placed securely using the powerful verification technology that Sinch offers.
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